Lyndsey Walsh and ITMO University: Tissue Culture and Re-Animation

Lyndsey Walsh, an artist and researcher based in Germany formed an exchange team with Laura Elidedt Rodriguez Torres and visited the Art and Science Center of ITMO University in St. Petersburg, Russia. Both of the exchange partners have a background in bio-technology and bio-art and for their exchange they experimented with new protocols for working with living tissues and cells for artistic inquiry.

During the exchange, Lyndsey and Laura provided lessons in tissue culture techniques to the students attending major and master programmes at ITMO Art and Science Centre. These lessons covered both theory and practice in decellularizing (removing the cells) different vegetal tissue such as spinach leaves and designed cuts of apple. The participants attending the lessons will use this knowledge to prepare an artwork proposal for the AIR Gallery Bioart Exhibition that takes place in February 2022.

For their final event, the exchange team hosted an open lecture workshop in the AIR Gallery Space of the Arts and Science Center of ITMO University. The part of the workshop consisted of a lecture on the historical perspective of “life after death” in Mesoamerican culture and on mythical creatures called “Alebrijes”. This concept was also linked with the studies of queer death and reanimation as well as with the use of the tissue culture technologies as an artistic study for such myths. Finally, for the practical part of the workshop, the participants experimented with removing cells from animal and plant tissues in order to create a non-living body that will then be re-animated with new cells.

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